Monday, May 6, 2019

Garcia Ranch

It was five weeks when camped a few miles north of Truth or Consequences and woke with the blind shivers, a condition brought on by dearth of magic.

Thinking maybe to stop by and "do lunch," I texted the Good Luck Duck. As luck would have it, on March 30th, she was in need of a massage. One thing led to another and we're now on our way to Utah.

It started in Datil. After getting up a head (pun intended) of steam (see: Datil Mayhem), we headed north. It's 146 miles from Datil to Gallup.  On our second day, about 30 miles south of Gallup, Bruno Bowers, the caretaker of the Garcia Ranch, stopped by to see if we were gonna cause trouble. He invited us for a tour and we spent the afternoon getting the history of the homestead which was founded in 1905.

The Forest Service has retired the adjoining allotments but the remaining two sections provide enough forage for several cows. The grounds still have the original house with its six bedrooms and as many stoves. The schoolhouse, which served McGaffey and its surrounds, had, at any given time, about eight students. The blacksmith shop, barn and a couple of outbuildings were all built with hand tools.

The house, with two-foot thick, adobe walls, had an addition that showed fine masonry.

 Traditional Mexican architecture frequently includes embedded bits of glass and, unique to this structure, bottle caps.

There was a 1946 flatbed and a 1952 International Scout -- with all windows intact. Mr. Bowers had had both of them running, albeit noisily, ten years ago.

I had to get in my two cents about regretting the death of the badger whose skin was hanging from the wall in the guest house. And I expressed my appreciation for the retirement of the grazing allotments and the successful introduction of wolves to control the burgeoning elk herds. We touched on religion, but mostly to acknowledge that none of us needed a "church" to appreciate the goddess's work.

It was a grand tour which we thoroughly enjoyed. And we have a standing invitation to visit whenever we're in the neighborhood.

However, exhausted by the "socializing," we spent the next day recovering. Roxanne led us to a delightful canyon just beyond some spectacular palisades a few miles further into Cibola National Forest and right across the street from Stinking Spring. (Coordinates available upon request.)

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